GayCoffees, a Kansas City-based enterprise that sells a variety of blends for $10 a pound and gives $4 from each sale to charity, appears among the A-list gift ideas in the December issue of Out, a national gay magazine. The local beans share top-shelf space with Calvin Klein crystal decanters and Queer as Folk DVDs.
A morning drink for dollars is the six-month-old brainchild of Catherine Kelly and Kevin Powell, who market the exclusive blends from a roastery in Topeka. Among the happy recipients of GayCoffees' largesse are the Kansas City Free Health Clinic and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. But when Kelly and Powell tried to give a lift to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, they said thanks but no thanks.
"Susan G. Komen said we couldn't use their logo -- which we do so buyers can see where their money is going -- but we could send them money," Kelly explains.
"We just felt, why give them money?" Kelly says. "It's not that they've done something wrong -- they've done something ridiculous. I mean, we have funds just sitting around to be donated."
Spokeswoman Kristin Kelly tells us that the Komen Foundation's decision had nothing to do with the fact that the coffee is gay. "We just won the Rainbow Leadership Award from Martina Navratilova's organization for our work with the gay community, especially around the issue of lesbians and breast cancer." The foundation turns down most partnership requests, she says; in GayCoffees' case, it was because the company is so new and only regionally marketed.
"We didn't think it would be so hard to find a designated national organization to take our money," Powell laments.
Another effort continues at gaycoffees.com -- but only until the 500th bag is sold. Money raised from the Phuck Phred blend, labeled with a stiff middle finger for the notorious homophobe Fred Phelps, benefits Unity Boulevard, a group hellbent on "anti-picketing" wherever Phelps shows up.